Star Trek Hunter
Episode 20: Survival
Scene 2: The First Signal
The First Signal
Dr. Tali Shae had appended Dr. Napoleon Boles to her department as the ship’s Epidemiologist more than a year ago, although there was almost never much in the way of epidemiology for him to do. But the U.S.S. Hunter’s crew had benefitted from his presence in many other ways. He had come up with surgeries that had saved Lt. Cmdr. Tauk’s life and Midshipman Tammy Brazil’s breast. While people often avoided Boles because of his caustic humor, there was no one better on the ship for solving practical problems.
Then there was the body odor. One of the biggest challenges of getting members of several different species to live together in peace - especially on a small, cramped space vessel with no outside air - was aligning the body odors so that everyone, especially the olfactorially gifted bajorans, could live in some modicum of comfort. Having a ship full of hybrids simply randomized this effect. Everyone on the U.S.S. Hunter made an effort - except Boles.
So Tali was surprised when she walked onto the bridge on her way to the captain’s office to find not the Hunter’s first officer, nor its second officer, nor any of the department directors or assistant directors in the captain’s chair.
“Why are you in command, Boles?” Tali asked.
“Commander Dolphin’s orders,” Boles answered. “I think he’s punishing me for something…”
In spite of herself, Tali Shae smiled and her antennae spasmed with mirth. Boles’ dry humor could occasionally also be one of his redeeming qualities.
“He’s been trying to come up with a reason for me to like him,” Tali said. “Looks like he finally succeeded.”
Boles made an amused noise. “Well, maybe he can work on me next.”
“And undo everything he’s been trying so hard to accomplish?” Tali taunted. “As you were, Lieutenant,” she said and headed to the captain’s office. The door opened just as she arrived.
Justice Minerva Irons’ voice could be heard within: “Come in, Tali.”
Just as Tali stepped off the bridge, 2nd Lt. Tolon Reeves, standing watch at the tactical station, said, “There it is - one!”
“Get me a bearing, Lieutenant,” said Boles.
“Not much to go on, sir,” said Reeves. “I’m feeding the coordinate range to Winnifreid, but we’re already trending almost to the center of this range.”
“Mr. Salazaar?” said Boles.
“I am adjusting our course to the center of the range, sir.” Flight Specialist Winnifreid Salazaar was still making adjustments at the pilot’s console.
“What about the tracking of the gamma bursts? I don’t want us under one of them or traveling through one of them,” said Boles.
“Our course puts us well above them, sir,” Salazaar replied.
“Commander,” said Boles, “We just received the first beep.”
Commander Kenny Dolphin’s voice came to the bridge over the comm system. “How strong was the signal?”
Boles turned to face Tolon Reeves - gestured at him.
“It was a fairly strong signal, Commander,” Lt. Tolon said.
“Napoleon, keep your eyes peeled,” said Dolphin over the comm system. “If we’re reading it five by five, chances are the romulans heard it too. Let me know the moment you get any hint of their scent - warp trails, sensor ghosts - even a glitch.”
“Got it, boss,” Boles replied.
“What was that?” Dolphin asked.
“I said, Aye, Commander.”
“Thank you Lieutenant.”
Dr. Tali Shae retreated as quietly as possible into Justice Minerva Irons’ office.